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Number of copies for initial manufacturing run of a card game (prospective KS)

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Ristora
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Hi,

I'm interested getting some opinions about the number of copies of my card game that I should plan to have manufactured were I to proceed with my first KS campaign.

This is a rather vague question with a lot of potentially important details missing, but here is my general question:

Assuming I have covered all my bases in preparation for a KS campaign, if my objective is to meet my KS goal, does it seem like a better idea to go for a smaller print run of 1,000 copies with a more modest KS funding goal, or a larger print run of 5,000 copies with a larger KS funding goal?

Why this is hard for me to figure out:

Generally speaking, more copies means more backers required to reach the KS funding goal, but cheaper per unit cost for the game and thus a more affordable entry tier (perhaps bringing in more potential backers). Less copies means less backers will be needed, but the per unit cost of the game will be higher and thus a higher entry tier cost (perhaps deterring some potential backers).

I'm hoping some of you with more experience or those with more confidence in their intuitions can weigh in here.

Thanks in advance,
Adam

let-off studios
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Jamey Stegmaier

I've never done a kickstarter. But Mr. Stegmaier has done a lot of research and reporting for people in your situation (and quite a few KS campaigns). Here's the first entry that came up when I did an Internet search for "stegmaier first-time kickstarter low goal or low cost per unit."

https://stonemaiergames.com/kickstarter-lesson-201-a-step-by-step-guide-...

I think some of the material in the above entry will help you determine (strictly based on the numbers) what your decision should be. Do the math, then listen to someone else's gut. NOT the other way around. That's my suggestion.

I Will Never Gr...
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Let's use some example

Let's use some example numbers!

1000 units @ $5.00 landed cost per unit = approx $25 SRP.
At $25 SRP you will need about 200 backers to cover your landed costs (then they pay shipping on top of that), and you will have 800 units left over!

5000 units @ $2.50 landed cost per unit = approx $15 SRP, but you could still go to $20 easily (guestimating of course)
At $20 you will need about 625 backers and you will have 4375 units left over.

I think, in this kind of situation, the choice is clear. Set up for a 1000 unit run and sell at $25ish + shipping (or incl shipping if you can) and hope for a bigger number of backers to bring your costs down.

The last thing you want is 4000 units of your game sitting in your garage/spare room/warehouse languishing because that's lost money.

Most first time creators on Kickstarter, unless they already have a HUGE following/fan base, are lucky if they hit 500 backers. The small discount you would get for immediately setting up for a 5000 print run is going to disappear when you end up falling short or, as in the example above, have thousands of copies sitting around that you're trying to unload.

The lower your goal, with a *reasonable* price point, the better. However, make sure to include a lot of the variables in your goal!

Landed costs (Manufacturing + freight + duties/taxes)
Artwork/Graphic Design
Prototypes
Previews/Reviews
Kickstarter fees (5%)
Stripe fees (3-5%)
Advertising/Marketing

And, last but not least, add 10% for those things that are sure to go wrong or that you missed when adding everything up (it happens to all of us).

wob
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hello. i haven't kickstarted

hello. i haven't kickstarted myself (so feel free to ignore my advice) but from the research i have done it seems that most of your backers are already on board. if you have done all the Facebook, email lists, bgg entry and the other pre-campaigning you should have a fair idea how many people are ready to back you (is it closer to 1k or 5k)
the other advice i have gleaned is that success on kickstarter can be worse than failure. that is if you dont fund, nevermind, learn from what you did wrong and have another go in a few months. but those people that promised the earth and got funded, then took years to deliver (or never deliver) they wont get backed again (or not by the same people). i would aim low but be prepared for overwhelming success.
oh and remember to factor in postage. it might end up costing all your profits and then some.

Ristora
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Thank you for the

Thank you for the replies!

Left-off: thank you for the link. This reminded me of a great resource I once poured over for days a year ago. After some searching I finally found it again: http://www.boardgamedesignlab.com/kickstarter/

IWNGU: Yeah, you're totally right. The numbers need to be figured out first and foremost. I've decided I'm going to ask the manufacturer to quote for 3 possible runs: 1000, 2500, and 5000. For some reason I didn't think of this as an option and felt I had to make a decision NOW, haha.

wob: thank you for your kickstarter advice as well. All good points :)

Jay103
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Ristora wrote:Hi, I'm

Ristora wrote:
Hi,

I'm interested getting some opinions about the number of copies of my card game that I should plan to have manufactured were I to proceed with my first KS campaign.

This is a rather vague question with a lot of potentially important details missing, but here is my general question:

Assuming I have covered all my bases in preparation for a KS campaign, if my objective is to meet my KS goal, does it seem like a better idea to go for a smaller print run of 1,000 copies with a more modest KS funding goal, or a larger print run of 5,000 copies with a larger KS funding goal?

You are insane if you're planning for 5000 copies.

Maybe you'll get lucky and viral and have a great KS. An astonishing KS. But you can't possibly plan on that, particularly for your FIRST KS.

The price point is NOT the important thing for you. If you sell at $15 with a run of 1000, or you set a huge funding goal and drop the price to $10 or $12? It's the same customers. Nobody on KS buying games is that price-sensitive.

The only way you could plan a card game with a goal over $20k (or maybe even $10k) is if you start with a HUGE mailing list of likely buyers.

Do you have a huge mailing list of likely buyers? Let's say at least 5000 people?

---

ObAdvice: Plan for 1000 copies printed. Get a price for that, INCLUDING an estimate to have it shipped to whatever fulfillment house you're using (or your home or whatever). Then add about $1000. That's your cost. Add 10%. That's your KS goal.

Then set your price point equal to about 4x your cost (plus shipping).

And don't forget to post here as you go..

Jay103
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I Will Never Grow Up Gaming

I Will Never Grow Up Gaming wrote:

I think, in this kind of situation, the choice is clear. Set up for a 1000 unit run and sell at $25ish + shipping (or incl shipping if you can) and hope for a bigger number of backers to bring your costs down.

The last thing you want is 4000 units of your game sitting in your garage/spare room/warehouse languishing because that's lost money.


This is some great advice.

Quote:
Most first time creators on Kickstarter, unless they already have a HUGE following/fan base, are lucky if they hit 500 backers.

I was at a totally different price point ($59), but as a first-time KS creator I started with a 600-person opt-in mailing list (I ran a contest to get names), plus I had some co-marketing from a popular web-comic, PLUS at the end I had Wil Wheaton tweet his support. So lots of positives and good fortune.

That got me to about 350 backers.

Btw, if you haven't found printninja yet, and your game is a pretty straightforward card game, you can get an insta-quote on their site without needing emails or whatever.

I can also give you my manufacturer's contact email if you'd like a quote from someone in China.. send a PM if so. I use Ningbo Lijia.

Ristora
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Thanks Jay,Sounds like from

Thanks Jay,

Sounds like from your experience the discount for jumping from 1000 to 5000 is marginal given backer habits.

I've had cards printed from printersstudio for prototyping and the difference between 1 copy versus hundreds is substantial. But you're totally right, 5000 would cost a fortune regardless and is almost certainly a bad idea.

I've just been thinking casually about some details about a possible kickstarter and I want to assure those of you who are interested that I do not take the process lightly. I promise I'm not insane :)

EDIT: Fortunately, I'm still waiting for a reply to my initial inquiry with Delano Services, so I'll likely not ask them about the cost for a run of 5000. I don't want them thinking I might be crazy as well haha.
Hopefully their minimum run will be small enough to manage.

I'll keep you posted.

Jay103
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Get at least 3 quotes.Some

Get at least 3 quotes.

Some manufacturers never seem to get back to you.. just how it is.

I assume you have a pretty good representative component list, like "108 poker-sized cards, 4c+4c, single back, 300gsm bluecore", the box, plastic insert to hold the decks, manual, etc..

(to the price-point point, I do think that the exact price point doesn't matter too much. If you can ship for $19 with US shipping included, use that as your price point :) )

Ristora
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Hey Jay,Yep, I do have

Hey Jay,

Yep, I do have complete list of components. Even better, all the components are completely designed and ready to go, including a 28 page rules booklet.

The reason why I contacted the manufacturer instead of filling out their "Get a Quote" form, and I told them this too, is just that some of the options were unclear to me. For example, I can't match a visual to some of the card coating options. Also, I'm wholly unsure what point weight I want to use for my box.

I have made sure, at least to the best of my knowledge, that I've approached them with all my ducks in a row as far as getting a quote goes.

EDIT: I probably should have asked here about recommended coatings and stock options though instead of asking them ;)

EDIT 2: Jay, are you aware of any other North American manufacturers that would do a 1000 unit print run (I still have yet to look at print ninja)? I'm attracted to Delano because they've done some games I really admire, plus they seem to be an all-in-one solution as far as manufacture and distribution is concerned (though I know all-in-one may be easier but not the most cost effective).

Jay103
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I would definitely check out

I would definitely check out https://www.printninja.com/calculator/card-game-quote

They're not the cheapest, but that's the easiest quote you'll ever get, and you can get a shipping quote included. For pure card games, I think they might not be bad on their price, either.

I can say that for the things I didn't know about, when asking Chinese companies for quotes, I just said something like "standard". Like, I knew I needed a rulebook, but I didn't know what paper weight was appropriate.. but the company knew what they use for normal rulebooks (in this case, it was "128 gsm artpaper"). I wanted 25mm plastic card stands, but they had 20mm as their normal size.. they didn't say "we don't have 25 mm, sorry", and they didn't say "we can source those for an extra $0.10." They just adjusted the size to 20mm and made sure I saw the change and quoted that.

Ristora
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Wow! The print Ninja quote is

Wow! The print Ninja quote is at the very least informative with respect to printing options! Thank you!

questccg
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What you NEED to know...

MOST FIRST time creators only earn less than 500 backers. More in the range of 100 to 250 backers. Yes some have managed to get 350+ like Jason's "Heroes & Treasure" or Andrew's "Portals & Prophets"... But both those products appeal to a NICHE demographic (so this might explain the additional backers).

General Adult-oriented (Millennials) games tend to earn less than NICHE when it comes to first time creators. Around 250 backers. So while your idea about 5,000 units seems "logical", it really is NOT!

Another point you are saying, more copies, lower price point. That too is WRONG. You want to LOWER your Funding Goal as LOW as possible to reach your goal. That should probably be between $10,000 USD to $20,000 USD. Anything above WILL NOT FUND! While YOU believe a $30,000 USD goal SOUNDS reasonable, for a FIRST TIME creator... It is NOT.

So the question is: "How do I reach $30,000 USD in Funding?" Answer is rather simple: Have a reasonable Funding Goal ($10k to $20k) and then have STRETCH GOALS which push the campaign over the top to $30k+. That's how you do it... OR have an ADD-ON which is something BONUS backers can choose to purchase (After the campaign is over). That too should earn you EXTRA monies AFTER the campaign is over...

It's good you are asking these questions NOW... Otherwise you may be doomed to fail your KS.

Cheers!

Jay103
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Ristora wrote:Wow! The print

Ristora wrote:
Wow! The print Ninja quote is at the very least informative with respect to printing options! Thank you!

I learned a TON about how card printing works from their site. There's a whole information section there. https://www.printninja.com/printing-resource-center

Ristora
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questccg: Thanks for the

questccg: Thanks for the input :)

questccg
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An example

Ristora wrote:
questccg: Thanks for the input :)

Take this game from Wee Robin Games:

https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/weerobingames/for-treasures/

It's got only 170 backers and their Funding Goal is $30,000 USD. They are AROUND $8,000 USD currently. If their goal was $10,000 USD ... Odds are they probably would make it!

I'm not just making up these figures. They are based on observations over the last few years about how projects tend to succeed/fail.

Some people think: "If I make MORE games then it will be less expensive to make." But on the opposite side: "This guy is a first time creator and he expects people to fund him for OVER $30,000 USD?!" It's ASKING too much.

You need to be realistic and understand the figures before you go about and make an unrealistic KS campaign (which may SEEM legit ... but one that will never succeed).

My goal here is to HELP you understand how to PLAN your project. It's very important because otherwise you'll commit yourself to too much inventory, take a loss and never be able to recover.

And why I say this??? Is because that's what happened to me BEFORE I knew about KS. I dumped $20,000 CAD into a game and made 100,000 cards (or 10,000 boosters). I could not get any traction for the game and wasted a small nest egg on the project. I've since learned SO MUCH. But even I know to expect no more than 1,000 backers on my NEXT project.

So it pays to ASK QUESTIONS. If you don't know, please POST about it. I want people to succeed without the hard price I paid with my first project. If I can help 1 or 2 people from making a HUGE mistake... My mission/goal is reached and at least someone else isn't paying a big price for something that will be a complete loss.

Cheers Adam!

Ristora
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oh man, I'm sorry to hear you

oh man, I'm sorry to hear you went through that, and I'm glad you are willing to help others learn. I hope I didn't sound dismissive with my recognition of your input, in retrospect it was very short and maybe seemed like I was brushing you off--definitely not my intention!

I will be sure to utilize the community as much as I can to increase my chances of success, which includes links like the one suggested to me earlier.

Thank you questccg :)

Ristora
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I want to thank all of you

I want to thank all of you again for your assistance. I think the case is closed what I should do for my print run. It seems like the minimum print run that can be mass produced (for example 750 units is the minimum from print ninja, 1000 from DeLano etc) is the best option.

I brought up this topic casually. Too casually. Your responses and detailed advice have all got me thinking a more concretely.

If I have anymore questions I will start appropriately title new threads.

Thank you again!

questccg
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As your Friendly Moderator...

I try to comment on posts to help people. Usually first time designers often post about their own challenges. While experience BGDF designers often go one step further and help others. So while I recommend to post more about what your plans are... Please be aware that there are other thread in the fora and your advice, ideas, opinion, thoughts, feedback, etc. can definitely help the other members.

For the most part, people tend to get along okay. We've only seen maybe four or five moments where some members got into some altercations with each other (those threads were locked ... which usually tells people to cool down or they will be banned).

The two dozen regulars on BGDF is a relatively small community ... but active in that those members do probably 90% of the posting and commenting. So if you want to become a regular, please feel free to join in some (or all) of the other threads/conversations.

Cheers!

questccg
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Minimum to get you to your GOAL...

Ristora wrote:
...It seems like the minimum print run that can be mass produced (for example 750 units is the minimum from print ninja, 1000 from DeLano etc) is the best option...

Yes you should be thinking in terms of "minimums" to succeed. And you should also be thinking about "overstock" and that you may elect to sell it on a website (your own) or via Amazon. Hope for 300 backers at about $45 USD a copy and then you've made $13,500 USD. That might be a realistic goal for Funding and then you've either got to find a way to SELL the remainder.

It all depends on the price for your manufacturing (Cost). To get WIDE distribution means you need to accept that you make maybe $5 USD on each game sold through traditional distribution. But the volume means that your game may be on store shelves. Otherwise you can focus on LOCAL direct distribution (which means you can sell to stores in your area at a discount of 50% which means you make about $10 USD per copy).

Amazon does profit sharing at 50% ... So a bit better than standard distribution and I would say you will probably make about $10 USD per copy.

Your best bet is to sell it at retail price from your website and then maybe you can earn $20 USD per copy. And maybe charge for shipping with some kind of shipping subsidy (to attract people outside the USA).

A strategy with one or more of these could be good too. It just takes you to figure out all the logistics when dealing with each one of these.

Good Luck!

Jay103
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questccg wrote: Amazon does

questccg wrote:

Amazon does profit sharing at 50% ... So a bit better than standard distribution and I would say you will probably make about $10 USD per copy.

Sorry to hijack the thread, but what? I haven't done anything on Amazon for several years now, but it used to be that Amazon would list whatever you want and charge you fees, much like eBay does, except with the added option of Fulfillment By Amazon where they'll also do the S&H for you for more fees, plus warehouse fees to hold your merchandise. Nothing like a 50/50 split. Maybe that's changed?

questccg
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Sorry ... I've looked into this...

Someone said this recently and I've had to go to the FBA Amazon page to get a feel for pricing. I read this on some thread in a FB group... So looking at the Amazon FBA page and you are correct. Sorry for the confusion...

Maybe the cost of their game and FBA pricing made it that it was a 50% cut into the retailing of their game on the Amazon website (not sure...)!

Anyhow I stand corrected.

questccg
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Bonus Money!

questccg wrote:
Yes you should be thinking in terms of "minimums" to succeed.

I also wanted to ADD that IF you "plan" based on minimums... You are MORE likely to succeed in another way:

If you plan for 500 or 750 backers and you get MORE backers than you had initially planned for (like 1,000 or 1,500), well then YOU BENEFIT more because you will have "Economies of Scale" (which just means because you make more games, your price per game will become lower).

And this is GREAT because it means you will earn MORE monies from the KS.

So PLAN to work on "minimums" (Try to find a 500 units manufacturer) and then who knows what happens but IF you get more backers, you'll probably SAVE some more money with a larger order from your manufacturer.

Best of luck with your KS (and your game)!

evansmind244
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Kick Starter

Is there anyone here that helps first timers with their Kick Starter for a fee?

questccg
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Contact Mike

evansmind244 wrote:
Is there anyone here that helps first timers with their Kick Starter for a fee?

Yes... My Publisher does that. They CONSULT. Mike just helped "Tom Peterson" Kickstart his 2nd Edition of "Mothership". Here's the KS URL/LINK:

https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/1800215991/mothership-tabletop-spac...

To get into contact with Mike ... Send an e-mail to:

info@outerlimitgames.com

To let Mike know who referred you, tell him "Kristopher saw your comment for help with KS on BGDF." He should be able to help you in MANY, MANY, MANY ways. He's personally ran 3 successful Kickstarters and has helped with several other campaigns.

Whatever you need, Mike is the right guy. He might be even willing to work on some "Graphics" for the KS page.

And just to let you KNOW, I KNOW Mike will want to HELP. Why? Because this is more in-line with what they want to do with their business: CONSULT on OTHER KS projects (not so much run their own).

Cheers Evan!

evansmind244
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Thank You

Questccg, I will email Mike now. I don't know if I can get this thing off the ground this year, but I'm darn well going to try. I'll let him know you referred me, and let you know how it goes. Thanks

evansmind244
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Questccg

Questccg unfortunately Mike is not helping with any KS's right now. Do you know anyone else? Thank you!!

questccg
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Answer some of my questions

evansmind244 wrote:
Questccg unfortunately Mike is not helping with any KS's right now. Do you know anyone else? Thank you!!

Hmm... James Mathe used to offer this service too. It was called KIG "Kickin It Games". But I don't think he offers such a service any longer. I know Mike is VERY busy... Did you discuss the window for the KS??? When are you planning to WANT to Kickstart your game???

I don't think of anyone ELSE that I know who does this... I know Mike told me a while back they don't want to RUN KS ... but simply consult and guide creators through the process with advice.

But like I said people have busy schedules and may not have the time to invest unless the timing is right or you offer something interesting. It would seem like your only other options are to "Go it alone" or "Find a Publisher" for your game.

Answer my question and let me know your "timeline" (What and When) and then let me see what is and/or is not possible. Maybe Mike thinks your game will not be a successful campaign (due to the Roll & Move nature of the game... IDK). Answer some of my questions and then I'll have a better understanding what you want to do ... and see if anyone is interested...

Cheers!

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Questccg

I didn't discuss the window with Mike and I only told him it was a Christmas Themed game. He said he's working 2 jobs and is very busy. Ideally I would like to have the KS ready to run in August or September. Which would give me 2 months to get games Manufactured and delivered by the end of November.
The manufacture I was going to use scammed me, so I'm gathering several quotes right now, and I don't have a solid timeline on Manufacturing. Assuming its possible to get the games in 2 months then I'd say September is the time to run the campaign. I have set aside some capital for this game, and have planned on paying professionals to help me with the Kick Starter. In fact I think it was you that convinced me to go with a Kick Starter and not just print the games and try to sell them.
I realize my game is not going to get support from the Gamer community necessarily but I do have the potential to attract a very large crowd to my game. I know a lot of people, and I have some connections with some people who will definitely send out my campaign to their Large networks. The people who have given me their email to get a copy of the game is small, maybe 100 people but I am certain that I will get a very large amount of traffic to my page when I do finally launch a KS. You seem to have a lot of experience running a KS. What would you charge to help someone get through the process?

Jay103
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evansmind244 wrote:I didn't

evansmind244 wrote:
I didn't discuss the window with Mike and I only told him it was a Christmas Themed game. He said he's working 2 jobs and is very busy. Ideally I would like to have the KS ready to run in August or September. Which would give me 2 months to get games Manufactured and delivered by the end of November.

Stop stop stop!

That is a terrible timeline, and you will not make it.

First, if you're in the US, I'm pretty sure that taxes are simpler if you're both getting income and paying manufacturing/shipping costs in the same calendar year. Your timeline says that, but make sure that's what's going to happen, otherwise you'll end up paying a lot of taxes on your KS money before you make anything.

Second, if you run a Kickstarter that ends in, say, September, here's what's going to happen. I'm going to assume that you think your game design and all your assets are ready on the end date, and you have a firm manufacturing quote from somewhere in China. If you have a true in-the-US manufacturer, I'd be interested to know who :)

September 10: KS successful.
September 24: KS sends you the money.
September 25: You send a deposit to the manufacturer, plus all your assets.
September 28: Deposit received.
October 31: Game manufacturing complete.
November 14: Toxicity testing complete (you didn't forget about this I hope.. it's a game for kids, so it needs testing)
November 15: Manufacturer invoices you for the rest
November 18: They receive your money
November 28: Your goods get loaded on a ship (this is generous.. it could be 2 weeks later than this)
January 2-15: Your goods arrive in the US (depending on west coast or east coast port)
January 9-30: Your goods clear customs
January 15-February 8: Your goods are in the fulfillment house and ready to go.
January 22-February 15: Your customers actually get stuff.

This also assumes that you have AHEAD OF TIME gotten all of your assets, which are completely done, in the exact correct format your manufacturer needs.

(oh, if you're wondering who else is trying to get goods from China to the US in October and November, the answer is "everyone")

This is literally the best case scenario, with all of your assets in CMYK PDF with correct bleeds, etc., ahead of time, and no other glitches or delays, and there are no revisions needed for any reason. This includes the box. There are no printing errors, no problems with wire transfers (I had one!), etc.

Quote:
The people who have given me their email to get a copy of the game is small, maybe 100 people but I am certain that I will get a very large amount of traffic to my page when I do finally launch a KS.

What makes you think that?

For comparison, I had a 600-person email list, plus some paid ads on day 1, and you can see my first few days here:

http://www.kicktraq.com/projects/727578181/heroes-and-treasure-rpg-board...

I hit 100 backers on day 4. Not that many. Nobody gets a very large amount of traffic without a large existing fan base, news stories, or other external buzz..

(Also, I highly recommend posting your KS page link here ahead of time for feedback)

wob
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with 100 people interested in

with 100 people interested in your game (not a bad amount for a first try) have you thought of skipping the KS entirely. have you thought of just making it at gamecrafter and letting people buy it through there?
you could also order some extra copies for reviews and showing to publishers or just to sell at your local game store.
if the components can be printed at home you can also go to PnP arcarde and similar sites

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